The Super Bowl is history, and it made history.
Is there finally hope for the Detroit Lions (or … gasp … the Cleveland Browns) ?
I mean the Eagles actually won for the first time ever. Their last championship was in 1960—six years before the Super Bowl’s inception.
For 58 years, Philadelphia fans have watched another team hoist that trophy … with several coming from another team in their own state of Pennsylvania.
“If there is a word called ‘everything’ that is what it means to Philadelphia,” Eagles owner Jeffery Lurie said as he hoisted the Lombardi Trophy for the first time in team history.
Lions fans understand that having never won a Super Bowl. Sure, it hasn’t been as big of a drought when you pull in all the sports. As bad as it has been for Lions fans, Detroit has had its share of championships. In my lifetime, the Tigers have won a World Series and been to two more. The Red Wings have won four Stanley Cups and the Pistons have won three NBA titles.
Once upon a time Philadelphia had the longest drought in baseball history—before the Cubs were really talking seriously about a curse. The Phillies were an original team in the National League before the turn of the century and did not win a World Series until 1980. They won again nearly 30 years later.
So Philadelphia has dealt with even more droughts and heartbreak than Detroit when you total all the sports.
But in football, the Eagles are way ahead of the Lions and this Super Bowl put the stamp on it. The Eagles have had a different kind of pain than the Lions over the years. They have been to Super Bowls only to come up short. They reach the playoffs on somewhat of a regular basis.
The Lions have only won a single playoff game in history, thankfully I was alive to see it. But I have also been alive to see that talented team with huge upside, never get anywhere near there again despite having the best running back in football history and a strong group of young players (at that time) that included Chris Spielman, Lomas Brown, Jerry Ball, Kevin Glover, Bennie Blades, Mel Gray, Ray Crockett, Herman Moore and Rodney Peete.
That seems like a pretty good foundation for continued success. But it was just a layer of the heartbreak.
The Eagles know about teams like that. That same season, they had one of the best defenses in NFL history, led by defensive guru Buddy Ryan. On the field, they had Seth Joyner, Jerome Brown, Reggie White, Clyde Simmons and Eric Allen—all Pro Bowlers and White, Brown and Simmons were all first-team All-Pro, comprising three of the four defensive linemen.
Plus, they had this dynamic quarterback in Randall Cunningham, but the Eagles, like the Lions faded. Brown died in a car crash, White left for Green Bay and Super Bowl glory. The team just wasn’t the same.
But they got back to the Super Bowl with Donovan McNabb under center, only to fall short.
This season, with a backup quarterback in Nick Foles, the Eagles shocked the NFL all season and kept it going in historical proportions.
So who is next to break a drought? The Lions? They have to have a better chance than the Browns, right?
Droughts can get broken in bunches, as baseball proved. The White Sox broke their curse of the Black Sox in 2005, a year after the Red Sox broke “The Curse of the Bambino” in Boston. The Cubs were a Bartman game away from getting to the World Series the year before the Red Sox broke their curse. It was almost three in a row. Then The Giants got there and finally the Cubs. … I am guessing Cleveland is next as far as baseball is concerned.
But as heartbreaking as it is to be a Lions fan, it was refreshing and almost magical to watch the Eagles end their own drought and finally bring a Super Bowl title to Philadelphia and a party on Broad Street.
Someday, that trophy will be heading to the Motor City and there will be a party on Woodward — someday.